What the Local Fair Taught Me About Internet Marketing
It’s been 9 months now. Nine months of starting this journey into a new online “career” as an affiliate marketer. For some that’s just barely getting started. I’ve heard AMs (affiliate marketers) getting into the online marketing business without making any real progress and no success for years. Many quit along the way since it is difficult work and also a path that is full of anxiety, disappointment, discouragement, and often little support. To those who have succeeded and fought through the ups and downs of starting your own online business, I can only congratulate you as you hold your head high in confidence knowing that you made it happen. Am I there yet? Far from it.
Just like starting any new journey, the overwhelming excitement of the possibilities blinds you from the reality of what you are really getting yourself into. I do not like to differentiate internet marketing as the hardest job in the world because it isn’t. It is in fact very similar to a normal business where you go and try to make a living by putting in hard work and long hours. It is different in the sense that it can be a very stringent and secluded path.
Sure you can have great people you know online or even family who may be supportive at first. However, there may come a time when they look at you as if they knew the whole time that what you were getting yourself into was a waste of time and didn’t have the heart to tell you straight up. It was their way of being considerate without hurting your feelings I guess. But, the truth of the matter is that you know that no matter how detailedly you try to explain things to them, they will just never get why you want to keep going and why you want to keep trying.
It’s Not Practical
The reason is that you did all that research and you put in the long hours to figure things out. If you consider how many hours of reading, learning, and viewing you did up until now, it would literally be enough to go to college all over again. Maybe. The point is that you’ve came so far and turning back now or doing something else is not practical. You know how to do this online marketing thing to the point where you start imagining yourself being the online “guru” creating your online courses and trying to jump from A to Z without really getting into the nitty gritty hard labor that most AMs go through. The months or even years of the hard daily grind of content creation, optimization, lead follow ups, reviewing analytical data, posting consistently and so on.
The Irresistibility of Becoming Viral
I’ve seen so many online gurus either do this as a full time career or as a side hustle late at night to help make ends meet for the family. Some do it out of pure passion since they’ve always loved to produce content that can be shared to an audience. Internet marketing is definitely a job where there comes a viral aspect to it. If you become successful, you can market yourself and promote who you are and in that also comes the reward of recognition or “fame”.
Having a regular 9-5 job does not always have that. When was the last time you saw someone promoting their career as a retail manager or even 6-figure earning doctor online? Trying to teach others to do the same. It is a different realm of career advancement since affiliate marketing is mainly informational based. Truth of the matter is that the influential success that can come with whatever you do online is definitely appealing.
Any AM will tell you. Internet marketing may sound easy but it’s a lot of work especially in the beginning years. Slim margins for success and you are up against an ocean of competition now a days. The lack of post views over time will kill your confidence and the thought of going back to what you were doing becomes more realistic.
Ok enough with the sob story of why internet marketing is so hard. What did you learn at the fair?
What the Local Fair Taught me About Internet Marketing
If you have other things going besides online marketing, then priorities will certainly get in the way. They may include family, school, and your “main” job or career. I hate to use the term “get in the way” because it makes it seem like those priorities are keeping you from going further with your AM career. Although the they may take away from your time, they do not necessarily need to get in the way of anything.
When it comes to family, everyday can be a new opportunity to create content around what happens. These experiences can be used in a way to further your online marketing content. Here is an example of mine:
The Local Fair
The other day, the local county fair was in town and now that my daughter is old enough to enjoy some rides on her we took her there. It was Saturday after work and it was time for family fun without work on our minds. The whole night was full of my laughter and proud enjoyment as my wife and I saw my daughter being a big girl riding the kiddie train all by herself. I can’t tell you how great of a feeling it was to see her ride that train by herself. As the night went on we just walked around and there were a ton of people there. I took some photos and videos like I usually do and just noticed how everyone was enjoying themselves so much.
My M&M (Marketing Moment) At the Fair
When it came time to play games, I felt like I had a “marketing moment”. For short let’s call it an M&M.
At the center of the fair, the several dozen game vendors were on their mics trying to entice the people passing trying to get them to put in $5 to play a game. They were basically trying to sell the idea that anyone can win and some games even had the irresistible sign of “winner every time” out front. Well, of course I bought into it and allow my daughter to play a simple fishing game where she did her best and won a small stuffed animal.
When I saw the other games, the people walking around were very selective. They knew that every game has some kind of catch. They wanted to spend money though since they came to have fun but they were very selective. The main reason was because the games were not cheap. I mean $5 to play a game in order to win a stuff animal you can probably just buy at Walmart for the same price is not the best deal in the world.
Looking for a Good Experience
Not only were they selective but they wanted a great experience. Sure they can pay the $5 but whether they win or lose, will they enjoy their chance to at least play? The games that seemed boring and mundane had zero players. I do have to credit some of the vendors though. Even though no one really stopped by to play, they were on their mics selling like crazy and never gave up.
The more exciting games had the most “hits”. People were literally lined up with money in hand ready to play. Not only did the prizes look fantastic, they had the right collection of items that both kids and adults would want to have. High quality items plus a high fun ratio was the winning combination. Those vendors must have had a ton people paying $5 to play that night. Even though many people didn’t win a single thing, they mostly walked away smiling having enjoyed their experience.
The Application to Internet Marketing
Internet marketing is very similar to what I saw at the fair that night. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Just like any good vendor at a fair, the key was in providing the best customer experience and a high quality of content. The vendors who had a very poor set up when it came to their games and prizes weren’t very appealing and had very little business. It wasn’t even the size of the booth that mattered either. Some of the smaller booths did great compared to the larger ones mainly due to their better experience and content.
Generally, people can see from a mile away if an offer is good or not. As marketers we can’t short guess what a potential customer may or may not like and think we can make that decision for them. In the end, they decide if your offer is worth the investment or not. They decide if your content provides a great experience and has true value. We want to quickly cut to the chase sometimes and try and get someone to check out our offer but fail to realize that person is in fact a real person who has something that we so desperately need, perspective.
Keeping It Practical
A very practical tip and this may sound like common sense but always try and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. To view things from their perspective and see how you would respond to what you were offering.
I had the chance to slap a high 5 to a vendor when my daughter had won something and asked him how long he’s been doing this. His answer wasn’t surprising. He said he been doing this for over 13 years. His marketing ‘strategy’ was to give an opportunity to win something for almost nothing. It was one of those games where even if you lose, you still get a prize.
The trick behind that was as customers pay $5 to play they do so with no pressure. Even though they do not win, they still get a prize and it communicates to them that they will at least get something for their $5. Once that initial barrier to entry is removed, they have no problems paying the $5 or even playing again and again. The vendor had a repeat customer right from the start. What probably took less than $3 to set up the game and collect inventory for prizes, that vendor was making an ROI (return on investment) that was almost double or triple his initial investment.
My daughter was having so much fun, I ended up spending $15 there. She didn’t win a large prize but 3 small ones. We had lots of fun, helped my daughter train for her future fishing expeditions with daddy, and actually walked away with something of value. To me, it was money well spent and I wanted to play more but the look from the wife was enough.
When we were leaving the park, it was before the late night fireworks started. People were still playing games up till the end and low and behold, who do you think still had long lines of people wanting to get one last shot to play? The less popular vendors had already begun wrapping up and preparing to go home.
Value Is King
As an online marketer, you have to think of how to delivery more value than wanting to receive it. It sounds cliche but it has the greatest potential for an ROI on all of your marketing campaigns. Like I said earlier, people can see a good offer from a mile away. If a good offer comes along than can provide a great experience as well as valuable content for the return, then most people will be “willing” to spend in stead of being enticed to do so.
How do I delivery higher value and a better customer experience?
Here are a few practical tips:
1.If you don’t find value in the product then you can’t delivery it.
Try and see if you can ‘find’ the value first. Do not get this mixed up with adding value to it since it then becomes superficial. If a product truly has value, then it will naturally come out. Your job is to worry about how to delivery that value once you see it for yourself.
2. Over delivery when possible.
Not to play into the consumer’s desire for more but, to create a greater sense of value for your offer will go along way. Make sure to exercise a wise amount of over delivery that wont eat away into your ROI. Bonuses are great and should be something separate from original offer.
3. Keep it simple, entertaining, and memorable.
Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most fun. If it is a memorable experience then it’s also highly sharable. It’s not just playing to the ear of your customers but to provide through a great experience something that also has entertaining value to it. This kind of content delivery will be taken as more memorable then just a simple straight offer.
The great thing about my family story at the fair is that it is something that can always be referred to in future marketing campaigns. It’s a story that I can use that can only help further add value to a potential offer I am trying to get across.
The fair vendors were all seeking after the same thing as any internet marketer, an audience. They wanted fans to promote their offer to and to get more people on board through over delivered value perceived from the experience of it all. There are ways to do this online and not too many people take advantage of this strategy. The main reason is that it’s more work. It takes more research and development in order to delivery what seems like a simple offer in a very irresistible way. The marketers who take the time to do so are the ones who will see a slow growth at the beginning but have often hit a viral surge in progress later on.
If you are an affiliate marketer, my encouragement to you is to be a value-driven, over-delivering, memorable-experience-providing, online marketer. The return on the value given will be well worth the investment of long hours of work you put into creating what could be the next best thing that many will want to wait in line for.
I’m looking forward to taking my daughter to the fair again soon. Next time, we go home with the large prize.